Possible Coronavirus Case Being Investigated at San Diego Hospital: HHSA

The new coronavirus, first detected in China, is causing a global outbreak of respiratory illnesses

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A possible case of Coronavirus is being investigated in San Diego County, a County Health and Human Services Agency official confirmed Monday.

The patient who may have contracted the respiratory disease recently traveled through Wuhan, China, the epicenter of the outbreak, according to HHSA Public Health Officer Dr. Wilma Wooten.

The potential case was reported to the HHSA on Sunday. Health officials said a specimen was collected that day and sent to the Centers for Disease Control for testing.

Those results were expected to be returned to San Diego from the CDC Tuesday, but HHSA said they now expect results Wednesday.

The HHSA said the possibly infected patient is currently "in isolation at home" in San Diego County.

Cases in China have now surpassed 2,700, and at least 100 deaths have been reported. Stateside, five have been hospitalized with confirmed cases of coronavirus: one in Washington, one in Illinois, one in Arizona, and two in Los Angeles and Orange counties, NBC News reported.

On Tuesday, U.S. health officials expanded their recommendation for people in the United States to avoid non-essential travel to any part of China, not just Wuhan.

NBC 7's Omari Fleming details the county's precautionary investigation.

The two California cases appeared this weekend. With such close proximity to San Diego, Wooten said it's only a matter of time before a confirmed case appears here.

Wooten said the department has already started contacting people the local patient may have come in contact with.

At this time, the name, age, or sex of the patient in San Diego has not been released by the HHSA.

Chinese Health Ministry officials say the coronavirus outbreak is spreading faster than anticipated, noting that the virus is contagious during its incubation period before any symptoms may show.

Students at University of California San Diego were spotted strolling campus with breathing masks on as a precaution.

Student Yifei Zhang started wearing his mask after the confirmed cases in Los Angles and Orange counties. After hearing about the HHSA's investigation, Zhang told NBC 7 the mask would stay on.

"It makes me more concerned," Zhang said. "I'm probably going to keep wearing it just in case."

NBC 7's Artie Ojeda spoke to someone from Rady Children's infectious diseases team.
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